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Monday, 2 December, 2002, 11:17 GMT
China to lift condom adverts ban
Chinese women walk next to a poster promoting condom use at a sex education exhibit in Beijing
The government now recognises education is essential
China is set to lift a long-term ban on condom adverts as part of efforts to tackle Aids, state media has reported.

The policy shift was reported a day after China marked World Aids day by launching a campaign to stamp out its spiralling pandemic - its biggest-ever public acknowledgement of an issue which has long been ignored.

The United Nations has warned China that 10 million people of its citizens could be infected with HIV - the virus that causes Aids - by the end of the decade.

Adverts on condoms have been banned in China since 1989, as part of regulations prohibiting promotions of all products relating the sexual activity.

But the ban on condoms is expected to be lifted early next year, the China Daily reported on Monday.

It follows a call from China's parliament in June for the State Administration of Industry and Commerce to change the regulations, the paper quoted an official from the department as saying.

Time to act

An Bonhua, a manager at the State Family Planning Commission, said the move was long overdue.

"The ban should have been lifted a long time ago because condoms are the most effective tools for not only avoiding pregnancy, but also protecting people and their partners from sexually transmitted disease," he told the newspaper.

Condom adverts would also help improve consumers make a more informed choice about the product they buy, the paper said.

More than 300 companies produce various brands of condom in China, but according to a survey conducted by the government in 2000, only 50% of the products are considered of quality, according to the China Daily.

Under China's new anti-Aids campaign, volunteers will be sent into the countryside to spread information about Aids prevention. A series of TV documentaries about the disease will also be shown on stations across the country.

The BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes says until recently Aids was treated as a disease of foreigners and drug addicts and there was almost no discussion of the problem in official media.


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01 Dec 02 | Health
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